Need for cognition does not account for individual differences in metacontrol of decision making

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Humans show metacontrol of decision making, that is they adapt their reliance on decision-making strategies toward situational differences such as differences in reward magnitude. Specifically, when higher rewards are at stake, individuals increase reliance on a more accurate but cognitively effortful strategy. We investigated whether the personality trait Need for Cognition (NFC) explains individual differences in metacontrol. Based on findings of cognitive effort expenditure in executive functions, we expected more metacontrol in individuals low in NFC. In two independent studies, metacontrol was assessed by means of a decision-making task that dissociates different reinforcement-learning strategies and in which reward magnitude was manipulated across trials. In contrast to our expectations, NFC did not account for individual differences in metacontrol of decision making. In fact, a Bayesian analysis provided moderate to strong evidence against a relationship between NFC and metacontrol. Beyond this, there was no consistent evidence for relationship between NFC and overall model-based decision making. These findings show that the effect of rewards on the engagement of effortful decision-making strategies is largely independent of the intrinsic motivation for engaging in cognitively effortful tasks and suggest a differential role of NFC for the regulation of cognitive effort in decision making and executive functions.


FachzeitschriftScientific reports
Frühes Online-Datum17 Mai 2022
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Dez. 2022

Externe IDs

PubMed 35581395
ORCID /0000-0002-9426-5397/work/141543201


Forschungsprofillinien der TU Dresden

Fächergruppen, Lehr- und Forschungsbereiche, Fachgebiete nach Destatis

ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete


  • Bayes Theorem, Cognition, Decision Making, Humans, Individuality, Motivation, Reward